25. 08. 2021

When most people are sound asleep we move goods onto tracks and, train by train, from A to B. When night falls and everything has become quiet rail freight really gets going.

The Rail Cargo Group works 24/7, 365 days a year - all through the night and also on public holidays.

Most freight trains actually travel by night...

Far fewer passenger trains are moving at that time and therefore more lines available for freight transport. Most tracks are reserved for tightly scheduled passenger services in the daytime, and they have precedence over freight. But night time is cargo time. There is so much going on – be it at our maritime, continental and conventional TransFER connections, at Rolling Road (ROLA) or port terminals, and border stations or loading points.

What actually happens at night?

Goods wagons are combined to trains at shunting yards before a final brake test and the train is readied for departure. Individual single wagon transport cars meet at train formation points, where they will be reformatted, assembled and processed before their journey begins. Shift changeover: Some employees are arriving for their night shift; others are ready to go home. Trains cross national borders, wait at signals for open lines, travel for miles and miles until they finally reach their destination.

Take a peek behind the scenes to find out what happens in a single night.

18:00 hours

Our grain train has been waiting at a signal on it way from Križevci, Croatia to Dobova, Slovenia. Now it’s on the move again.

19:00 hours

Our Linz (Austria) –Antwerp (Belgium) TransFER arrives at the medieval port’s marshalling yard from where the wagons are sent to their final destination.

20:19 hours

A train loaded with coke from Poland arrives at Breclav, the border station in the Czech Republic, on its way to Leoben Donawitz, Austria.

22:00 hours

Our grain train reaches its final destination after a 4-hour journey. Dobova is in south-eastern Slovenia close to the border with Croatia.

23:53 hours

A train of empty wagons arrives at Brenner border station, where drivers change over. It now heads to Munich Milbertshofen and on to a car plant in Regensburg, Germany.

00:37 hours

The train is now fully loaded with cars and departs from Regensburg to Verona in ‘Bella Italia’.

00:46 hours

A train with a combination of cargo units comes to the end of its journey from Koper, the Slovenian port, in the Slovakian capital Bratislava on the Danube.

00:48 hours

A ROLA train leaves the Wörgl terminal in the Austrian Tyrol for its journey to Trento, Italy.

01:35 hours

Another train with a combination of cargo units that started in the Italian port of Trieste stops at Tarvisio Boscoverde border station. Its final destination: the terminal in Wels, Austria.

02:29 hours

Another ROLA train arrives at Brenner, the Italo-Austrian border station. The wagons undergo a technical inspection, drivers change over and then it leaves for its final destination, the Wörgl terminal.

04:05 hours

The train with a combination of cargo units that started at the Wels terminal reaches Tarvisio Boscoverde border station for a change of drivers before leaving for Trieste at 04:53 hours.

05:07 hours

Our Antwerp–Linz TransFER had left at 07:02 hours yesterday and now arrives at Linz.

Things then carry on into the morning, and the wheels keep turning throughout the day until the next night shift. The Rail Cargo Group never sleeps.